The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Morrocan Dinner for 80

December 9th, 2010 · No Comments · Posted in Ethnic, kids

Hoping parents dinner will look like this

It’s time for the semi-annual parents dinner at the elementary school where I teach my food appreciation classes and I’ve settled on a Moroccan theme. Without a bevy of North African chefs in my kitchen, I’ve been left to ponder how I go about making a vegetable couscous that’s normally prepared in a special Moroccan steaming apparatus.

The seven-vegetable couscous we made earlier this year was delicious, and of course we didn’t use a couscousiere then, either. What I decided to do was peel and dice the vegetables individually–three pounds each of onion, carrot, celery, turnip, butternut squash, cauliflower, plus canned tomatoes, chickpeas and raisins–then make large, individual bathes of the stew, which is flavored with an exotic mix of saffron, turmeric and cinnamon. For the cooking liquid, I used a vegetable stock I’d had sitting in the pantry looking for a job to do.

The stew turned out even better than I’d hoped. I simply combined it all in a doubled large aluminum pan in which I’ll reheat the vegetables at the school. It then acts a serving vessel on the buffet line as well. I’ll probably cook three pounds of dry, whole wheat couscous to go with it. I just add boiling water to couscous in a covered bowl.

The rest of the menu consists of the Moroccan carrot salad we made in October. I’m a sucker for carrot salad, and this one is flavored with cinnamon, cumin, paprika and garlic. We’ll add pine nuts to make it smile on the plate.

There’s also this intriguing salad of romaine lettuce and orange sections, dressed with an intoxicating and oil-less concoction of lemon, cinnamon and orange blossom water. (Note how cinnamon appears in just about everything Moroccan.)

I usually place something interesting to nibble on on the family-style dining tables. I couldn’t think what it might be this semester, but then it dawn on me: I have a huge container of savory green tomato pickles curing on the kitchen island. These were the tomatoes I picked shortly before Thanksgiving and pickled in a Mediterranean fashion with vinegar, honey and cinnamon. (See, cinnamon again. It’s a theme.) I’ll scatter bowls of those.

Finally, for a dessert, we’ll also place bowls of the ginger cookies we’re making in class this week. We’ve switched our cooking lessons to baking and these cookies fit the season. And since they’re also flavored with cinnamon (among other things) they work with my Moroccan menu as well.

Am I missing cinnamon anywhere?

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